I offer personalized care to every one of my soon-to-be mothers and partners. What does this mean? You may be thinking “of course you do, all professionals provide personal care to their clients. It’s their job.” Not exactly. Care providers work with their clients to accomplish some sort of goal, whether it is to heal, educate, or “birth their baby.” It is too easy to fall into the trap of looking only towards the end goal and forgetting that the client is indeed a person: not just a client. My goal is to have every mother and – if they have one – partner to leave my support after the birth of their child feeling personal with me and fully supported with their choices.
So what does personalized care look like? First off, trying to refrain from considering them as “clients.” I try to refer to every parent who comes into my presence as exactly what they are: mothers and fathers. “The mother I am currently working with is great! And her partner is so supportive!” Of course I still use the term client quite often, but I do not want my client-doula relationship to become their identifier. They are people beyond my paycheque.
The most common way to give personalized care is to be adaptable to the parents. Do the parents lead? Or does the care provider? Letting the parents lead is one way to get a sense of what type of people they are and what type of birth they want, because birth is not about pleasing the doctor, or midwife, or doula: birth is about empowering the parents with their decisions. This is their journey through pregnancy and birth, if they are planning on having a water birth at home, then providing them with information about hospital births is meaningless.
Speaking of needing, one thing that everyone needs is time! Nothing in life lives with a time limit but people. We created the concept of time so we can better understand and feel the universe, but ultimately it is not required for many things: patience is a very useful skill to develop. Generally, my meetings run between 1-2 hours. This is only due to the average amount of time my parents and I need to discuss various topics for that day. Other doulas or care providers will take different amount of time with their clients. It is essential to spend the full time needed together – whatever that amount may be – to really get to know one another and to ensure the mother receives and fully understands the knowledge that is being shared with her. She should be going into her birth fully prepared, ready for what she envisions. Just like there is no time limit on pregnancy or birth, there is no limit on the meeting time with a mother.
When provided with personalized care, parents feel less like a “client” or a “patient” and more like a parent. There are less judgements placed on them from their provider since the provider follows the parents’ flow, not the other way around: The parents made the choices for their birth and baby. They have reached their end goal, whether it is a healthy baby, intervention-free birth, supported birth etc. This is how I want the parents I work with to feel. I want all mothers to feel empowered and satisfied with their births and ready for the rest of their lives with their child. So if you are currently pregnant or just looking for a care provider, I highly encourage you to look for someone who you feel provides you with personalized care. Someone who you feel in control with and can trust to respect your wishes, because you truly deserve it.